Taste pollution

12 December, 2011 (14:14) | All articles | By: Stuart Fraser

WE’VE recently received our electricity bill from EDF. Tis, I am reliably informed, the season to be merry, tra-la-la-la-la, la-la la la, and EDF is certainly making merry, busily cashing in on its raised prices in a country where, according to The Guardian, one in four households spends more than ten per cent of total income on adequate light and heat and is therefore in fuel poverty.

Tell me how it is, then, that this year poor Santa and his reindeer are likely to be blinded once more by the garish light of flashing decorations outside houses that look like a cross between the Fourth of July and an Amsterdam brothel?

This ghastly custom, this annual exhibition of all the taste, self-restraint and sense of dignity of the X Factor final, has defied global warming and the recession. Now it’s even defying energy prices that put the price of power on a par with the price of an executive saloon car.

Why would you make so public a gesture of wasting electricity, with your waving Santas, your working elves, your twinkling stars, your purples and silvers and reds and greens?

And why would you carry on doing it when electricity costs so damned much?

I suppose if you’re the sort of person who happily burns electricity for no purpose other than to give the electronic impression of a herd of reindeer crapping on your roof, or if you’re the sort of person who lights up his or her home like a pound shop, you’re not going to give up easily.

Shame, though. Less flashing houses emitting light and taste pollution was the one good thing I thought could come of raised electricity prices.

She are the champion

Cornwall has a new world champion. Oh yes.

Sarah Payne swept to a magnificent victory in the inaugural World Euchre Championships (Linkinhorne Rules) held at the Church House Inn on Saturday.

“World championship?”, you sneer. Well, sneer on. If the Americans can play World Series among themselves, Linkinhorne can have a world championship – I see no other tournament openly advertised and available to all offering the chance to be the best there is at Linkinhorne rules euchre. OK, the outside broadcast cameras weren’t there. But wait til next year.

We drank to absent friends – Nigel, Pop, Pete – and the cross-dressing Sister Wendy put in a special guest appearance. We all greatly regretted the absence of Brother Stents, though he’d only have lowered the tone. I’m happy to report that there were several Timmings in his honour.

Old Father Roger, high as a banker’s bonus on a heady cocktail of performance enhancing drugs, and Brother Hamster, fuelled by Guinness and mince pies, held up the dishonour of this blog’s happy band with podium finishes, followed by Brother Numbers and yours truly. The Sister Sues and Matron were somewhere in there, too, while the number of people saying either “I’ve never played before” or “I haven’t played for ages” was very high. It was dreamed up by a Doney, brilliantly organised by our occasional Brother Woodward, and raised £200 for the Cornwall Air Ambulance, which was fantastic. Especially as, earlier in the day, more friends of this blog (I’m thinking beards and Bassetts) had been at the scene of a nasty crash to which the helicopter was called. Nobody hurt, fortunately.

Some of the dosh came from an auction of countries, in which competitors could bid for the flag they wished to represent. Old Father Roger paid a tenner to fly the Iranian flag, for example. I was stitched up by others who paid a fortune for the Welsh flag then forced it upon me. Which ruined my evening but at least spared me being upset at losing.

Eurall mad

And finally, something on which left and right have a rare opportunity for agreement, to whit the European Community. The economists seem pretty united in their concern at David Cameron’s decision to allow the rest of Europe to get along without us. It’s remarkable how many economists don’t seem to trust Cameron’s City chums, on whom he’d sooner rely.

The reason is obvious: the City is populated by short-termists, their eyes forever myopically focused on the quick buck. In defence of France and Germany, they at least seem to be trying to come up with policies which have long-term stability as their aim.

Left and right think this is doomed to failure for different reasons – the left because the free-market corporatist model on which the present vision of Europe is based is hasn’t worked, isn’t working and won’t work. The vast majority of the world’s population remains ill served by the systems being suggested.

Brother Fiddle passes on this remark from an internet chatsite:

“Let’s be absolutely clear about this: the EU is not Europe. It’s a concerted attempt to run Europe from a central source.

“The EU is anti-democratic. Just ask voters in Denmark, France and Holland; how many referenda did the EU bigwigs ignore? What was it about the word ‘no’ that they didn’t understand? And don’t even bother asking voters in Greece and Italy any more, because they now have their own ‘appointed’ governments.

“You can be in favour of increased co-operation, trade, labour movement and all the rest of it (as I am), without being in favour of central planning and big, unaccountable government.”

I don’t know who wrote it (on the website of The Word magazine), and I suspect he or she and I would not agree on much. But on this….


Comment from One Old Fiddle
Time December 13, 2011 at 10:15 am

I seem to remember these words from childhood: “Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord….” I think the folk who live on Slipper Hill, a beacon of apparent bad taste according to Brother Fraser, should be in the New Year’s honours list for brightening these dark, wet, windy, utterly miserable nights. It brings a smile to my face as, motoring by, my little car fights the elements. Hooray for vulgarity!

Comment from stentsRUS
Time December 13, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Land owner?….two 4-tracks?…. agree Cameron?….a change of hue?
BUT THEN….intimate knowledge of X-factor and Dutch brothels
….mellowing with age more like…..welcome bruv!

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